COUNCILOR Plaridel Nava said he would author a resolution calling for an investigation on the alleged high power consumption of the Iloilo City Agriculture’s Office (CAO).
The investigation by the City Council will look into allegations that CAO’s monthly electricity bill totaled P85,000.
Last week, it was reported that the office of Iloilo City Lone District Rep. Jerry Treñas shares the same electricity service meter owned by CAO.
Treñas confirmed that City Hall pays for his office’s power bills.
“The resolution does not even focus on Treñas but on the allegation that the city government pays P85,000 month for the bill of CAO. That is too much for an office with a small area. That is shocking to the senses,” Nava said in a media interview after their regular session on Sept 4.
Nava said he is eyeing to present the resolution during their next regular session on Sept 11.
“Once approved, with probably the Committee of the Whole, we will ask the presiding officer to calendar it (inquiry) immediately,” he added.
During the investigation, Nava said they would invite the Panay Electric Company (PECO), City Agriculture’s Office, City Treasurer’s Office, and City Engineer’s Office, among others to shed light to the issue.
Nava is also collating the billing documents from the time of former congressman Raul Gonzales Sr. up to the present to determine the total power consumption of CAO.
In a previous interview, Treñas said the congressman’s office has been using the same meter since the time of Gonzales.
Nava said the result of the inquiry would determine the need to file cases.
“If the findings show that there is an excessive use of electricity and someone tapped at the meter of CAO, then somebody has to be held accountable. It is illegal under the law to tap on the meter of others. Ang isa ka kontador, isa lang dapat ang magamit,” he said.
The inquiry will also tackle the disbursement of Treñas’ office budget because Nava said congressmen have allocations for electricity.
“Right now we are in the dark kung ano natabo ngaa for so long may naga-tap dira sa aton kontador. Dapat mabal-an ta kung pila ginagasto kag kung pila ang budgetary allocations dira sa office ni congressman. Without an inquiry, there is no way that we can know all of these,” he added.
Nava also hopes to get the support of other city councilors, most of whom are allies of Treñas.
“Testingan ta kung diin ang simpatiya sang mga konsehal – kung kay Treñas or sa pumuluyo,” he said.
Nava said he was informed that Melchor Tan, the former city administrator during the time of Treñas as mayor, allegedly lobbied with several councilors, except to him and Councilor Joshua Alim, not to support his resolution.
This was confirmed to him by one councilor.
“I don’t know why he would do that because wala pa siya gani kabalo kung ano contents sang ipagwa ko nga resolution nag-panic na siya. That simply shows nga tarantado sila. Kay wala gid ya lain kung mapa-imbestiga kay this involves public funds and public interests,” he said.
In an interview with Aksyon Radyo, Tan denied Nava’s claims.
Tan said he finds no reason to reach out to the city councilors and that doing so would be futile as the latter also have their own principles.
The service meter controversy erupted when Mayor Jose Espinosa III requested PECO to terminate Meter No. S-15313 owned by the City Agriculture Office and the Animal Bite Center as these offices have transferred to the nearby Kerr & Co. building.
Espinosa, is an ally-turned-rival of the congressman, denied that he is after Treñas whom he will face in the 2019 mayoral post. The two also happens to be brothers-in-law (magbilas).
In an interview with The Daily Guardian On Air over Aksyon Radyo on Sept 1, Treñas said he will find ways to avoid disruption of services at his office once the service meter is terminated.
He claimed the act was a form of “harassment” towards him. He cited the reported sacking of job hires at the City Hall who were believed to be his supporters.
“Ang una gina-harass ang mga casual employees. Subong daw kita na ang gina-harass. Anyway, atubangon ta na kag pangitaan paagi nga ang serbisyo nga ginahatag mapasige pa,” he said.